Saturday, 19 March 2016

Gamages Doll Shop.....All Things Tiny and Dolly.

The window is still a work in progress so as I acquire more dolls this will probably change. At the moment it has a selection of dolls by a very talented Spanish artisan,  VICTORIA HEREDIA GUERBOS, who I have seen at the Kensington Dolls House Festival. Unfortunately she does not have a website but attends lots of shows worldwide and always has an amazing display of dolls in a variety of sizes.
The tiny dolls house is by Veronique Lux.
 I have started dressing the large back cabinet despite being more than a little annoyed at myself for not matching the paper design on the back board. I am hoping that when I finish the whole unit this bad seam will not be so visible. 
The tiny ballerina dolls, top left, are from Sally Reader Miniatures, and a whole range of teeny dolls are available on their website.
Underneath these are three pieces by Deb Jackson and I am seriously tempted by a number of gorgeous pieces she currently has on her Etsy site but I really mustn't!!
The tiny chairs are all Jane Harrop kits in 1/24th scale I think although she also does quite a few kits in 1/48th scale as well.
The three gorgeous dolls are by Tower House Dolls who are based in the UK. They have a whole range of dolls including some that are ready to dress. They also produce specials every so often and I was recently able to purchase the matching set with the toy pram and baby.
You can also see another tiny house by Veronique Lux.
Still quite a few gaps to fill!
 At the moment I have grouped all my printie dolls together just to fill a shelf but I do quite like them en masse.
I have also grouped dolls by the same makers together mainly because I am a bit anal about order but I will play around with the displays as I fill the shop. The three dollies at the front of the shelf are by Joy Cox and are very poseable, amazingly so for such tiny pieces. I love this little family and have added quite a few of Joy's 1/48th pieces to my collection lately. I may use them in Gamages or save them for other projects.
The three very French dolls are by Ananda Miniaturas who have a lovely shop on Etsy. These dolls are so sweet and beautifully dressed. They seem a bit tucked away here so I will have to find them a better place to perch.
 Two very lonely little dollies on these shelves by Ananda Miniaturas and Victoria. The tiny doll by Victoria is the smallest in her range and comes in a presentation box with minuscule accessories. 
The tiny doll by Victoria is the smallest in her range and comes in a presentation box with minuscule accessories.
I have had a go at dressing the tiny beds, all by Jane Harrop. They won't win any prizes but they will pass anything but a very close scrutiny. I haven't been very adventurous because I didn't have any materials in my stash that were very suitable for this smaller scale and making the pillows was a gluing nightmare! Hats off to anyone who works in this scale!
 This shows the wood work I have added to the front opening panel. I love Sid Cooke kits but you don't get any interior mouldings with them unlike the Dolls House Emporium kits so you have to make these up yourself. Plus the door hinges are always awful but they will have to do. 
I have a few extras that I would like to add: some bunting for the top of this window, it is quite a tall window and I am debating whether or not to add an extra shelf or maybe a plinth for the dolls at the back? Hmmm, not sure yet.
A very helpful lady on FB also mentioned a baby bath which is a great idea as I used to love bathing my dollies when I was a child.
Plus I think this display definitely needs a tea set or two and I think smaller scale sets will work.

Quite a few items still on the shopping list for my marathon of shows this Summer. I am so lucky as I will be going to the Chicago shows in April followed by the London show in May and to finish off the 1zu12 show in Rheda the first weekend in June. 
What a great way to see the world!!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Gamages Doll Shop Is Open For Business.....

Despite many gaps on its shelves Gamages Doll Shop is practically finished for the moment.
I always find it quite difficult to leave a project unfinished when I could just fill gaps with instant buys. I am holding back though because I am attending quite a few fairs this summer and I am supposed to be saving the pennies for these events. Which is sensible if annoying!!
I thought quite hard about the roof of this shop box as I wanted it to have the look of a roof without having to do any serious building work. I ended up using some sticky backed flooring I bought so long ago it could no longer really be called 'sticky backed'! I then gave it a dark grey wash and finished it off with a narrow moulding from my stash.
I also added skirting board as a roof edge moulding to tidy up the look of the roof and side walls. 
This shop box will find a place in my real house so I am not going for a totally authentic building look, I just want it to have clean lines and look nice.
 I am getting better at filling and finishing projects with homemade items, especially for areas that are partly hidden. These two box drawers are made up from an Art of Mini kit and I have filled them with paper doll printies taken from images found on Google. 
I later used my new found de-cal skills to add lettering to the front of these boxes for an added detail.
 Many artisans use printies to finish all sorts of scenes so I hunted for girl images on Google that I could cut out and display as dolls. If it works this will be a very cheap way of filling up a shelf and small gaps. I have made them stand by simply gluing a small strip of wood behind each image.
 I am hoping that these prints will also fill some gaps and add a bit of variety to the shelves. I bought these frames in The Range in packs of three, I think they were about a pound in the card making section. I have just painted them up and added some dolly prints.
 More gap fillers that won't break the bank......dolly books. Images from Google glued onto the front of plain card books. I did add decal titles to the spines which worked for some of the books but not for others. I tried to be clever and add co-ordinating colours but I would have been better off just sticking to a black font. The idea did work though and I will definitely do it again as spines are quite difficult to nail on miniature books.
 I also decided to try out something else with the clear de-cal paper. Quite often shops had advertisements painted on the exterior brick work and I thought the clear de-cal paper would give the impression of the paintings as it would still be possible to see the brickwork beneath.
I have also added a road sign which is a little bit to bright at the moment but you get the idea.
 On the other side I have added a bucket down-pipe that I bought at a fair for Honeydukes and never used. I have painted and buffed all the components and it does add interest to the side wall. Obviously it is completely redundant as I haven't installed a top gutter but I like it. 
The de-cal is an original advertisement and I love that it is shillings and pence.
I have also changed my main shop sign as I made a terrible rookie error by using the possessive apostrophe: it should be Gamages and not Gamage's. Thankfully this was pointed out for me by a visitor to the Blog and I have been able to remove the offending de-cal from the front.
The de-cal was very easy to remove as I hadn't varnished over it, I simply lifted the edges with warm water and it came off like a dream without lifting any of the paint work.
I have lots more to show and tell of the inside and window when I will name all the wonderful artisans whose work is inside the shop but that will have to wait for the next post.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Making De-Cals.....Image Transfer The Very, Very Easy Way.

Work has continued on Gamage's Doll Shop and I have been busy making up these doll size kits by Jane Harrop. They are in fact 1/24th and 1/48th scale kits, which are the perfect size for 1/12th scale childrens' toys.
I have painted them in a mixture of vintage colours and now have the tiny beds to dress. 
I have also lined the counter and shelf unit with matching wallpaper. I didn't use the insets that came with the kits as they were not a matching shade and I wanted the furniture to blend into the room as there will be so much going on with all the dolls. I have also put up a few wall shelves using some fretwork I discovered in my stash.
I have quite a few shops in my collection and one of the problems I have come across is creating the necessary signs and lettering. This led me to investigate all sorts of methods involving transferring images. I collected a lot of tutorials that can be found on my Pinterest board and have tried many of them but found I couldn't really get the colouring of depth quite right. 
I then began looking at work by various artisans and realised that not only were their methods much crisper than mine they also seemed able to image transfer quite complicated custom patterns and designs.
This led me to discover de-cals and even better than de-cals to buy, de-cal paper for ink jet printers. I found a site called Crafty Computer Paper that sold ten sheets for £6.99, which is not cheap but seemed to be the right product. The lovely Julie of Little Bits and Pieces very kindly confirmed that this was the de-cal paper she used on her furniture so I bought a pack of white and a pack of clear.
The instructions are incredibly straight forward and I have been playing this week.
I have produced both signage and images to decorate the tiny furniture and am so impressed with the results. Try not to spray your sheets and then leave them on the floor to dry when you have dogs with muddy paws though!! 
As the paper works out at 69p a sheet I did my best to fill a whole page to its limit by adjusting all the margin widths. I also ran a test page to make sure all my lettering was the right sizes before finally using the de-cal paper. You also have to seal your images with an acrylic spray to make sure the ink doesn't run when you dunk your images in water. I bought the Keen Spray from the same site as I am a lazy shopper but I am sure there are lots of other products that would do the same job.
Adding the images to the furniture was a piece of cake although I did leave my sheets to dry overnight just to make sure they dried thoroughly. I also have to admit to a complete mess up with my first attempt.
There are two types of paper, clear and white, the clear paper is what you need for lettering as the de-cal once removed from its backing is....clear. Whereas the white paper is designed for full images like pictures because when the decal is removed from its backing any blank spaces will show through....white.
I of course used white on my first print out which meant all of the lettering couldn't be used and some of the images were impossible to cut out intricately enough to avoid the white edges showing.  
So, second attempt and a day later I have been able to test out the clear sheets for the lettering. This phrase was painted over the door of the original Gamage's department store so it had to find a place in my shop. 
This is the lower section of the large shop unit and this decal has been applied to the back wall. You do not have to glue them on, they slide off the backing, once soaked in water for about 20 seconds. and then all you have to do is place them where you want.
Once I was in the swing I began applying them to the front of the shop.
I have used as many details as I could find linking back to this favourite childhood shop.
Lastly I applied the name which was the biggest of the de-cal strips and breathed a sigh of relief as it went on perfectly. Phew!! To make sure the de-cal doesn't stick too quickly and to allow you to adjust its position it is recommended that you wet the surface of the object you want the de-cal to stick to. This means it will slide into place and can be moved around with ease.
Easy peasey, lemon squeezey!!
You do of course get a slightly glossy finish from the de-cal and if you look very carefully there is a very fine line around the lettering which is why it is important to cut as close as possible to the lettering or image. I will add an extra coat of varnish once the shop is finished anyway for extra protection so this doesn't cause too much of a problem. I might even go for a satin finish to see if this dulls down the gloss.
I would definitely recommend this product it is a super way to personalise our miniature scenes. I understand that this de-cal technique has been used for years by train and model enthusiasts and of course you can buy tons of water slide nail decals on Ebay already printed and ready to use.
The best thing about this paper though is that it allows for the printing of whatever design you choose which is perfect for miniature shops.
Happy printing!!